Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger and senior writer. He also blogs for the Plum Line at the Washington Post, and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

If the Dunce Cap Fits...

The young'uns among our readers may not remember, but a few years back there was this show called The West Wing , in which a president who was not only a liberal intellectual -- a Nobel Prize-winning economist at that -- but also extraordinarily eloquent, principled, and politically savvy, went about pursuing liberal goals and meeting crises with aplomb. It was a liberal fantasy, since President Bartlett was everything we wanted a president to be. And in one series of episodes, Bartlett actually went after his opponent for re-election for being a simpleton who advocated simplistic solutions to complex problems. Here's a sample: OK, we all know that isn't how things really go. But I have to object to this article in Politico by Ben Smith, which goes after Democrats for criticizing their opponents for being simpletons who advocate simplistic solutions to complex problems. The main piece of evidence seems to be that liberals will be attending the Stewart/Colbert rally, and "in doing so,...

NPR Boots Juan Williams.

The media news of the morning is that NPR gave Juan Williams the boot after some comments he made during an appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor": The move came after Mr. Williams, who is also a Fox News political analyst, appeared on the "The O'Reilly Factor" on Monday. On the show, the host, Bill O’Reilly , asked him to respond to the notion that the United States was facing a "Muslim dilemma." Mr. O’Reilly said, "The cold truth is that in the world today jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet." Mr. Williams said he concurred with Mr. O’Reilly. He continued: "I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous." Mr. Williams also made reference to the Pakistani...

There's Suckers in Them Thar Hills.

(Flickr/ bullionvault ) If you've been following the Tea Party, you may have noticed that many different reporters have spoken to Partiers who say that they didn't realize how bad things were until they started listening to Glenn Beck , and their eyes were opened. And if you've listened to Beck, you've noticed that his show isn't just an hour's entertainment; it's a way of life -- once you enter his world and understand that Armageddon is around the corner, there's no going back. Part of this message comes in the products Beck hawks to his viewers, which include things like " survival seeds " and " food insurance ," which is a survival kit of freeze-dried food you and your family can subsist on while you're waiting for your seeds to germinate, after society collapses and the undead are clawing at your underground shelter. But no product gets more attention from Beck than gold, particularly gold sold by a company called Goldline. As Beck tells it, one of the consequences of Barack...

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

Today's New York Times has an interesting story about a periodic meeting conservative über-donor David Koch organizes, where he and other masters of the universe plan how to advance the cause of "freedom," i.e. remove themselves from the burden of paying taxes and obeying regulations on things like the environment and worker safety: A secretive network of Republican donors is heading to the Palm Springs area for a long weekend in January, but it will not be to relax after a hard-fought election — it will be to plan for the next one. Koch Industries, the longtime underwriter of libertarian causes from the Cato Institute in Washington to the ballot initiative that would suspend California’s landmark law capping greenhouse gases, is planning a confidential meeting at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa to, as an invitation says, “develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society and outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise...

One More Thing the Administration Did Wrong.

Ben Smith has an article in Politico that tells us quite a bit about what has happened in the last couple of years. The basic thesis is that in 2008, Obama actively discouraged donors from giving to the outside groups that were forming to help him get elected, and now he's paying the price. Here's an excerpt: That active discouragement began in earnest in May 2008 as Democratic fundraisers began joining hands to try to take back the White House. A first effort, a 527 called the Fund for America, had boasted in March that it would spend $150 million. As it fizzled, a new nonprofit group called Progressive Media USA announced in April that it would raise and spend $40 million from anonymous donors to attack John McCain. Then, in early May, in a conference call and at a meeting of Obama's national finance team, Finance Chairwoman Penny Pritzker told donors and fundraisers that Obama didn't want them helping outside groups. The money stopped so abruptly that Progressive Media was left...

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